Emotional intelligence: the missing link in diabetes treatment


It is generally accepted that the rates of non-adherence to treatment for chronic disease and lifestyle changes are on average 50% in developed countries around the world, with even lower rates in developing countries. More … than 34.2 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, and 88 million more have early-stage diabetes (sometimes called prediabetes, however, without intervention, about 70% will become full-blown diabetes). In addition to this, people with diabetes are more likely to have more severe symptoms and an additional serious complications of COVID-19[female[feminine. With with most intervention programs today being human dependent and very expensive, cost-effectiveness and large-scale patient engagement are two key limitations in solutions targeting the optimization and prevention of diabetes management . The best of current combined solutions serve, at most, 10% of the population in need.

As a group, people with diabetes are particularly prone to significant diet adherence issues. Despite the evidence-based dimensions of good diabetes self-management, such as weight control, regular physical activity, self-monitoring of blood sugar, and medication management, many diabetic patients continue to face barriers. These challenges lead to increased morbidity and mortality, high healthcare costs and great frustration among patients and practitioners. The most common question asked by diabetes care teams is, “How can I help activate or empower my patients to better manage their diabetes?” “

Current protocols for the management of diabetic patients

Diabetes is a prime example where self-management, and furthermore, the ability to maintain behavior change and adherence over time, plays a crucial role in care. To optimize their health, people with diabetes are often counseled on their diet and physical activity, receive frequent medical examinations, as well as annual specialized examinations of their eyes and feet, and take several oral or regular medications each day. injected. This is an overwhelming list and we cannot ignore the enormous responsibility that falls on these people. Until there is a cure for diabetes, all of these behaviors usually have to be maintained for a lifetime, and the choice to adhere to these protocols is ultimately up to the patient himself.

Managing diabetes is a complex task that seems endless and overwhelming, making it seemingly impossible for patients who already feel demotivated by their disease. To be successful in adhering to the treatment protocol, patients and their healthcare providers must be aligned. But with the millions of patients who must adhere to specific health regimes on a daily basis, how can these organizations maintain ongoing and valuable connections at scale?

The global healthcare industry invests billions in the development of medicines, digital therapies, devices, wearable devices and services to empower patients to manage their health, all competing for the invaluable relationship with clients to to serve them better and improve their quality of life. But overcoming the global challenge of not adhering to the holistic intervention protocol can only be achieved when patients, on their own, actually do what they need to do to comply with their health regimens.

Effective therapies require frequent, individualized interventions that extend beyond the hospital and clinic to reach patients in their day-to-day lives. There is currently a mismatch between what the health care system and human-dependent chronic disease prevention and management programs are equipped to provide, and the interventions needed to effectively address the epidemic burden of chronic disease. To improve clinical outcomes, one must overcome the “
last mile problem”Involving the behavior of the patient, because even the most appropriate medical treatment will only be effective if the patient follows it to the end.

Despite the increasing advancements in sophisticated drugs and devices related to diabetes, we are left with the fundamental and enduring problem of human behavior. How do we help people effectively integrate diabetes self-care into their lives and become proactive in implementing and maintaining targeted habits throughout their illness? How can we help clinicians and healthcare organizations better support these efforts? A disease that is difficult to manage successfully, doctors know that if their patients followed their treatment recommendations, they could actually improve their health and avoid complications from diabetes.

Behavior: the heart of any diabetes intervention

Treatment adherence issues have been studied for years, but it is only recently that models derived from behavioral science have been used to improve patient follow-up. Researchers have also started to explore whether data-driven precision medicine can incorporate personalized behavioral ‘nudges’ that improve patients’ ability and willingness to follow recommendations. This can be achieved by providing highly personalized prompts via a mobile app to meet each patient’s specific lifestyle habits and motivation profile. The most convenient way to ‘push’ someone into action these days is to use their cell phone. However, most of today’s nudge solutions are generic and do not adapt to the user’s real needs, habits, schedule, priorities, motivations, etc. Inviting a patient with a message like “You still have to reach your 10,000 steps today” is often ineffective, especially in the long term, where impersonal recommendations can actually create alert fatigue. Just as a particular treatment will not work as well for every patient, generic behavioral interventions will not trigger every patient’s action.

This is where the “precision engagement” comes in. Most recently applied to healthcare, it combines data science and behavioral science to personalize the behavioral intervention most likely to motivate a patient to change a behavior and stay committed, long term, to their treatment protocol. . . Finally, patients can be offered inspiring interventions adapted to their personality, their goals, their care path and their commitment challenges. How can this be accomplished? With the help of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and machine learning algorithms, we can deliver the right stimulus recommendations to the right patient, in the right tone, at the right time and in the right way, for improve adherence to their data. therapies.

Combining AI and EI to make the change

AI is a term we are all familiar with now, and it continues to add immense value to the digital health industry. While AI allows us to deepen the patient experience, the only thing missing is human touch. For truly perfect precision engagement, Emotional Intelligence (EI) is key. Unlike AI, IE is not something that we can physically see or work on. EI refers to a person’s personality and intellectual abilities, which develop throughout their life. More specifically, it is about a person’s ability to process information arising from their emotions and their ability to guide action in situations that require activation of the cognitive system. Simply put, what emotion prompts a specific person to act? What will cause patient A to take his medication this morning? What will patient B receive in their daily exercise?

The answers to these questions lie in hyper-personalized recommendations, or the “nudges” we mentioned above, which are automatically adjusted based on the individual’s past behavior patterns and the current real-world context. Using AI technology, various types of data can be detected and collected from a patient’s smartphone and other connected devices, including raw data relating to their activity, location, Wi-Fi. Fi, their sleep patterns, weight, blood sugar, medications, nutrition, mood and more. Then, this raw data is processed and analyzed to understand the behaviors and habits of the patient. Using these combined strengths, we can finally understand when, where and how to best interact with diabetic patients to effectively impact their long-term behaviors and health at scale.

Another added value is reinforcement learning, a subfield of AI, which has the ability to address each individual with health recommendations in the tone of voice that has the greatest likelihood of reaching. membership. Tailoring the tone of voice to each individual can result in the most effective hyper-personalized experience.

The ultimate solution

The world faces a major challenge when it comes to keeping people with diabetes motivated to stick to their health regimens, even when their lives depend on it. It is of the utmost importance that we begin to standardize tailor-made intervention methods that have proven effectiveness – methods that do not further frustrate patients, but encourage, motivate and help them lead healthier lives.

We have the technology at our disposal now to get started implement a personalized engagement tools in the management of diabetic patients. The deployment of these solutions will not only fight the global challenge of nonadherence to treatment, but will also allow people managing their diabetes to really see a difference in their health. It can be a reality with automation, personalized plans for each diabetic patient according to their individual personality, continuously adapted according to their behavior and context. Doctors want to be there for their patients, but cannot be micro-managers of their behaviors. This is a key benefit of adopting digital solutions – helping physicians manage their patient load and enabling patients to better follow their treatment plans for better health outcomes.

Dr Yossi Bahagon is the co-founder and active chairman of Sweetch.

Yoni Nevo is CEO
by Sweetch.

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